April 2009 Archives

Paradise Lost . NOW on PBS
Just this week, a top UN official predicted that by the middle of this century, the world should expect six million people a year to be displaced by increasingly severe storms and floods caused by climate change. But for many island nations in the South Pacific, climate change is already more than just a theory--it is a pressing, menacing reality. These small, low-lying islands are frighteningly vulnerable to rising temperatures and sea levels that could cause flooding and contaminate their fresh water wells. Within 50 years, some of them could be under water.

This week, NOW travels to the nation of Kiribati to see up close how these changes affect residents' daily lives and how they are dealing with the reality that both their land and culture could disappear from the Earth. We also travel to New Zealand to visit an I-Kiribati community that has already left its home, and to the Pacific Island Forum in Niue to see how the rest of the region is coping with the here-and-now crisis of climate change.
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BBC: Americas on alert for sea level rise

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By James Painter
BBC Latin America analyst

Climate change experts in North and South America are increasingly worried by the potentially devastating implications of higher estimates for possible sea level rises.

The Americas have until now been seen as less vulnerable than other parts of the world like low-lying Pacific islands, Vietnam or Bangladesh.

But the increase in the ranges for anticipated sea level rises presented at a meeting of scientists in Copenhagen in March has alarmed observers in the region.

Parts of the Caribbean, Mexico and Ecuador are seen as most at risk. New York City and southern parts of Florida are also thought to be particularly vulnerable.....

A November 2008 study by UN-Habitat on the world's cities pointed out that in most Caribbean island states, 50% of the population lives within 2km (1.2 miles) of the coast. They would be directly affected by sea level rise and other climate impacts.

The Bahamas, the Guyanas, Belize and Jamaica have been pin-pointed by the World Bank as being particularly at risk from a one-metre rise.

The coastal plains around the city of Guayaquil in Ecuador, the country's main economic hub, are also known to be vulnerable to a combination of sea level rises, storms and sea surges.

New York would see an additional rise of about 20cm (7.8in) above the global mean due to Amoc by the turn of the century, according to Dr Yin's research published this year in the journal, Nature Geoscience. Florida would experience less than 10cm (3.9in).

"A one-metre rise could be a disaster for parts of Florida, particularly in the southern part of the state," Dr Yin told the BBC.

"Sea level rise superimposed on hurricane vulnerability makes for a very worrying situation."

Many scientists stress that it is not too late to mitigate the possible effects.

"We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce coastal developments," Dr Yin says.

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GLOBAL: Getting to the bottom of sea-level rise
10 Mar 2009 18:19:38 GMT
Source: IRIN
Reuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author's alone.
JOHANNESBURG, 10 March 2009 (IRIN) - In the past few months, newspapers across the globe have been flooded with a debate over new studies projecting a higher and faster sea-level rise by the next century, which would sound the death-knell for low-lying countries and coastal cities. The debate has been fuelled by varying interpretations of the impact of melting ice, and by a new projection of up to 1.4m in sea-level rise by 2100, rather than a 2007 projection by the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) of between 18cm and 59cm by that time, depending on a range of greenhouse-gas emission scenarios

ased on IPCC's findings a sea-level rise of 50 cm projected for the next 100 years is expected to occur mostly in the second half of the next century, according to Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory of UK's Natural Environment Council. "Consequently, rises of level for the next 20-30 years (your remaining lifetime) can be expected to be similar to those for the past 30 years (of the order of 10cm)". The impact of the sea-level rise is already unfolding. Island states such as the Papua New Guinea are already feeling the impact: in 2005, 1,000 residents on its Carteret atoll had to be evacuated as the rising sea level was slowly drowning their land. "We will also see an increase in storm surges," said Robert Bindschadler, chief scientist at the Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Laboratory of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Stefan Rahmstorf, a climate scientist and oceanographer at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in Germany, who made the 1.4m projection and is attending the Copenhagen conference, said it was "very critical" that governments take into account the new findings "because of the long time-scale of sea-level rise". "Once set in motion, sea-level rise is impossible to stop. The only chance we have to limit sea-level rise to manageable levels (say, one metre, which is severe enough) is to reduce emissions very quickly, early in this century. Later it will be too late to do much," Rahmstorf commented.

Source: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/IRIN/1cef4bf164bb445d9e4a5d2a2b0226b7.htm


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